Born on Ithaca in 1921, Raftopoulos moved to Australia in 1934. He followed his father who
had gone to Australia in 1922 and his grandfather who emigrated in 1885. He served in the Australian military forces
in WW II as an entertainer known as Rafto the Magician. And he began writing and reciting poetry from the age of sixteen.
Like so many, however, he returns for the summers.
According to the Ithacan Society Odysseus, there are many young people in the Ithacan Diaspora who would like to return
to the country of their ancestors for a better quality of life, but the Greek Government discourages them. The same desire
is expressed by many retired persons, but they avoid it because of the lack of medical facilities. Presently there are almost
as many Ithacans living in Australia (1,827), as on the island itself. With 1,443 in the United States, and 1,026 in South Africa.
I wonder why in all their sailing, the Greeks have never really colonised another country. There are no third world countries that
speak Greek. Nikos, a teacher, tells me: "The Greeks are a peace-loving people. They travel. But for them, there is no place like
home." This seems to be confirmed by Stathis final plaque:
I dedicate to the memory of past generations who for a
thousand years cultivated the soil of Ithaca, to remain here
till the end of time.